DeHaan promoted to director of public safety

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017. Captain Dehaan Shakes the hand of one of the Patriot Gaurd Riders.

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017. Captain Dehaan Shakes the hand of one of the Patriot Gaurd Riders.

Devin Dely

After serving Grand Valley State University for more than 30 years, Capt. Brandon DeHaan of the GVSU Police Department is embracing a new role as director of public safety. The promotion is effective immediately and is a logical next step for DeHaan, who assumed the role of acting director and chief in October of last year. 

“I’m very excited to help lead the department into the next decade,” DeHaan said. “We have great people working here, and I’m very proud and honored to have been given this opportunity.” 

DeHaan has worked for the GVPD since 1982, when he started out working part time as a student. DeHaan’s roles have changed over the years. After starting out as an officer, he was promoted to sergeant in 1997. From there, he accepted a role as assistant director of public safety and was later promoted to captain. 

“My tenure here is lengthy,” he said. “I think several things have changed since I started working. First off, the size and scope of the university have become much larger. The other thing that’s changed is that perhaps back in those earlier years, the law enforcement was geared more towards a strictly security focus. While that is still a concern, the landscape is changing. Our community engagement is a really strong component now, and we also have to address some of the threats in the world today.” 

Less than two weeks into his new role, DeHaan is already leading the department into new territory. 

“We’ve updated the graphics on our patrol vehicles to reflect an update we’ve got coming later on this year,” he said. “The police department is going to have a presence at the Pew Campus. In its completion, we will have five officers who are designated on the Pew Campus, and we anticipate having staff available for the fall semester.” 

The new graphics on the police cars are blue graphics that fade into black, easily distinguishable from previous designs. According to DeHaan, the change is intended to help individuals clearly recognize patrol vehicles and tell them apart from other similar vehicles.

DeHaan’s long-term investment in the safety of GVSU will continue to impact the campus, and as he prepares to lead the university’s public safety department through the coming years, it is apparent that he is grateful for his time here. 

“I don’t know that anyone starts out their law enforcement career saying they want to remain in campus law enforcement,” he said. “However, as time progressed, it became clear to me that this environment was very unique and really fit what I wanted to do. I’ve had an opportunity to see a tremendous amount of growth within the university. And then I think of someone like Lynn Blue (vice president for enrollment development), who’s been here since 1968; she’s had the opportunity to work here for 50 years. Think of what that means.”